What’s New in Localization QA and Testing?

Interview with Sven Werner, Head of QA + Testing Facility, Portland

Welocalize provides comprehensive quality assurance (QA) and localization testing services to some of the world’s leading product and software companies. We have two secure testing labs located in Portland, Oregon and Jinan, China. Sven Werner, who heads up the testing facility in Portland, shares how Welocalize QA and testing services have matured and advanced to enable our clients to deliver a superior customer service and experience.

How has the approach to localization testing changed over the past 5-10 years?

In the past, testing was seen as part of the overall production stack as opposed to a service. Testing wasn’t necessarily an integral and strategic part of the overall localization plan. How we use, purchase and update our technology has advanced significantly over the past two decades, when Welocalize was founded in 1997. New software, features and updates are downloaded every second, all over the world, onto a variety of platforms. This has resulted in localization testing, both functional and linguistic, becoming a crucial part of any software development lifecycle (SDLC). Localization itself, and testing as well, is no longer an afterthought or part of an ISO check box, but a service that clients actively seek to ensure their products are ready for global markets and well received.

The rapid growth of technology globalization over the past decade has resulted in a different approach to production and testing, for both clients and service providers. Clients develop their products in an agile environment, going from one sprint to another very rapidly. Products need to be ready for global markets and simultaneous shipping. In addition, it is no longer sufficient if the translated content appears correctly. The focus is far more on the experience of the user in each market. To get a good read on how well a product will be received, traditional test cases have had to make room for story-based test cases. A story-based approach truly tests the experience of an app or piece of software.

Some of our most mature clients won’t even allow an application to be integrated into their software unless all the right internationalization, globalization and localization tests have been carried out and properly documented. Testing features such as dates, measures, extensions, file names, string handling, text expansion buffers and generally ensuring a positive local user experience – these are all integral parts of a global product strategy, not an afterthought.

How has this impacted Welocalize?

We have built many partnerships with our clients and integrated testing into their software production cycles. Our testing operations have matured and Welocalize testing teams are led by a new generation of experienced testing managers, bringing a new way of thinking and testing to their teams. We deliver meaningful results to clients all over the world, providing feedback to ensure localized software products appear truly local and not simply a translated version of the source content. It must be a natural user experience, which will vary across countries and cultures.

At our facilities in Portland, we have over 250 test seats which are dynamically assigned based on the testing needs.

How are test seats dynamically assigned?

It’s a sophisticated system that assigns testers with projects to available seats in the lab. A tester checks in, sees which machine and seat is associated with their name and target language and they are booked in for the duration of the project. This allows the testing managers to create testing squads based on the project specific testing needs.  Once complete, the seat is automatically assigned to the next tester and project.

It is a fast-paced world?

Absolutely. We’re an agile organization and support short-notice requests, often delivering back within 24-48 hours. We support 72 locales on a regular basis on all the main platforms – there are very few platforms we don’t support. Our testers are highly qualified and immerse themselves in the client’s technology. Client-server testing, web and mobile app testing, e-learning, multimedia and website review to name a few – we cover a wide range of testing. We also work closely with Welocalize colleagues over in China and Europe to share best practices and support clients.

Where next?

We will continue to grow and serve our clients with world-class QA and testing services. We want to be even more innovative and sophisticated in our approach to help agile clients create and distribute products and updates globally and in local markets.

Interview by Louise Law, Welocalize Global Communications Manager

For more information on Welocalize QA + Testing services, click here